You are probably planning a backpacking trip, and you suddenly realized that you will require a tent. Where do you start? Which one do you buy? Such decisions can be very hard to make, since there are numerous types of tents and models out there. Therefore, if you don’t have the right information about what you want, then you might end up with the wrong tent. A tent will be your home in the wilderness. You therefore, need to select something that will provide a certain measure of comfort to make your backpacking trip memorable. Before you even choose a tent, you should determine whether you are going for camping or backpacking.
Backpacking versus Camping
Backpacking and camping are two terms with a lot of overlap. In backpacking, a long distance hike is usually involved, and you will fully rely on what you carry, to get through of finish. In backpacking, you a lot of travel or hiking will be involved. Therefore, you need to choose a lightweight tent, which will not slow you down. You will need to set up camp when the day is over and use your tent. On the other hand, if you are planning for a camping weekend, you already have a specific location in mind. You can camp with your car, a motor home or even under tents. However, most campers usually spend a day or two in the bush. In terms of tent selection, a pure camper does not have many restrictions. You can even select a heavy one, since most of your luggage will be carried by your car and not on your back.
Selecting the Right Backpacking Tent
While each person has unique needs, choosing the right tent will be based on four main components. These are capacity, tent seasonality, weight and livability. Let’s look how each affects the tent buying decision.
Backpacking Tent Capacity
Backpacking tents are usually categorized based on capacity. Models are available can accommodate 1 to 4 persons. For example, you will always see a number on the tent, such as Wenzel Alpine Tent 3 Person. In this case, this Wenzel tent is designed to accommodate 3 people. Most tents are designed with a snug fit, which helps to keep the weight down. There are no industry standards. Dimensions change from one company to the other. However, if you are going for a backpacking trip and you want more space, you can always buy a larger capacity. For example, if you are two, then you can buy one designed for 3 people, or even an extra-large one, since they are available.
Backpacking Tent Seasonality
These tents are ideal for backpacking in different climates. However, they are mostly preferred for summer trips, although they can also be used late fall or early spring, when there is moderate snow. Most come with a double-wall construction. Additionally, they are fitted with more mesh on the tent body, for increasing ventilation. The mesh also keeps the tent cool when the rain fly is on. Tents with more mesh tend to be lighter. The problem with more mesh is compromised durability. Additional features in 3-season tents include rain fly vents, gear lofts and multiple doors. They can be used by both campers and backpackers.
These ones can be used the whole year. However, they are engineered to handle winter excursions. They are designed to withstand high winds, heavy snow and low temperatures. Therefore, if your backpacking trip will take you to this weather types, then this is the tent to invest in. They are much heavier than the 3-season tents. They also have less mesh, burlier poles, and more durable and heavier fabric. When comparing 3-season tents and 4-season tents, you will realize that the fly of 4-season tents tends to run all the way to the ground or snowpack level. This is meant to seal out snowdrifts and winds. It is also advisable to go for 4-season tents that have internal poles support. They are more rigid and easy to set up, especially during foul weather. They are available in double or single wall construction, based on your preferences.
In the outdoor world, light is always preferred. It means that you will be carrying less weight on your back, less fatigue and more distance covered. The only setback with most lightweight tents is that they tend to be less durable. Most of them are created with delicate materials, which wear out easily. On the other hand, heavier tents tend to be more durable. If you are backpacking with several people, you can always share the weight among yourselves, by splitting the tent’s components. But with modern technology, manufacturers have managed to produce lightweight tents, which are equally durable. However, the seasonality of the tent should always be the determinant of durability and strength.
Regardless of how glamorous, durable or lightweight your backpacking tent is, if it is not livable, then you will not enjoy your time out there. However, this is the hardest feature to measure. Factors that affect livability include the location and number of doors, livability, and ventilation as well as protected exterior spaces. Vestibule space usually determines the amount of gear that you can store outside the tent body. Wall geometry should be the main factor used in determining the livability of a tent. The floor dimensions are easy to choose. An average of 80 inches of length and 25 inches of width would be ideal for most individuals. If you are taller or if you intend to camp with your furry friend, you should go with one that is 90 inches long. There is also the issue of peak height. It measures the tallest point in the tent. However, its location is equally important. If the peak height is concentrated at the center, then you will have to spend most of your time there, to enjoy the roominess of the tent. On the other hand, if height is concentrated towards one corner, you will only be able to enjoy the space when seating or lying in your sleeping bag. When it comes to wall geometry, go for a tent with vertical walls, instead of the pyramid shaped ones. The one with vertical walls gives you more room inside as opposed to the pyramid shaped types that make you feel cramped inside.
Best 15 Backpacking Tents – Reviewed
If you are planning to go backpacking, then you need a good quality tent that will keep you protected against weather elements. Well, you don’t have to look further, thanks to Sundome 4 Person Tent. It can accommodate up to 4 campers. It is also fitted with a large door, which provides an easy entry or exit. A hooded fly at the entrance provides ventilation even when it is raining. For cross ventilation, there is a spacious rear hooded window. Additional ventilation is also provided by the mesh vents on the tent’s roof. The rugged polyethylene floor wraps up the sides, providing you with weather protection even during extreme circumstances. Seams are fully welded. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about water droplets or moisture getting inside. Created using high quality polyester, you get a tent that is durable and rugged. This tent is also easy to setup. Therefore, whenever you are rushing against the weather, the design allows you to put up as fast as possible. It is high enough, which allows you to sit comfortably even on chairs. There is also a hook on the roof, which you can use to hang an electric torch or a lantern. A mat is also included, which you can put at the front door.
2. Klymit Static V Lightweight Sleeping Pad
Lightweight backpacking and comfort is what you get, when you buy this tent. It features a V-chamber design for limiting heat loss and promoting air movement while providing better comfort and support. The tent is easy to use. You just use the push valves and the tent is ready for use. It is one of the most comfortable lightweight hiking tents. The sleeping pad is compact and packs small, which is a great thing especially for bacpackers. This pad offers you sufficient loft from the ground, preventing loss of heat via conduction. Despite its small size, the pad is sufficiently padded, to provide support as well as comfort. You can use it when camping in hammock, on a cot or even on the ground and its performance is never compromised. The addition of dynamic side rails ensure that you remain in good position all night. The pad is also versatile, meaning that you can use it for a variety of other uses.
This Sundome 2 Person Tent makes your camping much easier. It is designed in a way that is fast and easy to set up. Moreover, it comes with large windows, together with a ground vent, moving air in and out for incredible ventilation. You don’t have to worry when it rains. The patented welded floors, featuring the Weathertec system together with the inverted protected seams ensure that you stay dry, whenever you are inside the tent. The pole attachments secure the tent against strong winds and storms. A rainfly awning on the entrance makes sure that you get adequate shade during sunny days, as well as rain protection. To keep you organized, there are internal pockets. Here you can store those items that you would need closer such as portable music player, cell phone, and other accessories. It can comfortable accommodate two people. Therefore, if you are going for a backpacking trip, this tent helps to make things lighter for both of you, since you don’t have to carry two tents. For easy transport, there is a carry bag that is included. This helps you to share the load without having to interfere with your backpack. It is constructed using good quality materials, giving you durability and longevity.
This easy to set up waterproof hiking tent is a favorite for both seasoned campers and beginners. Whether you are going alone or taking your car with you, it will serve the intended purposes. It is spacious enough to accommodate three people comfortably. If you intend to use it alone, then you can fit in a queen-sized airbed, and still leaving some space for your gear. You can also fit in a double layer mattress. However, this reduces the headroom. If you want to use a queen-sized airbag, you should inflate it inside the tent. With a headroom of 52 inches, tall people will not have a problem using this tent. In fact, the center is much higher than other tents designed for 3 people. You can comfortably stand up and change clothes. Also included is a gear loft, which can be used to stow smaller personal belongings from the floor. There is also an electrical access port. The port can be used to bring in an electrical or power cable, without interfering with the doors or windows. Its ceiling has a provision where you can hang your light. Similar to other dome tents, this one is wind-resistant. It repels light rain and dew. The rear window as well as the door is fitted with rain-fly shelters to steer away the rain and cover the central roof mesh. Once you close all the zippers fully, the tent can withstand heavy rain, and you will not encounter any leaking. Several adjustable ventilation points minimize condensation while bringing in fresh air.
5. Coleman Hooligan Tent
If you are a casual weekend camper, this should be a must have in your hiking gear. It is designed in a way that it can be used for backpacking, since it is lightweight and compact. It is one of the most affordable hiking tents, for someone on a budget. The Coleman Hooligan Tent is simply designed and lightweight. It can accommodate two campers comfortably, and still leave some space for storing gear. Due to its one pole design, the tent is fast and easy to set up. This feature proves very useful, when rain appears unexpectedly. This one comes with shockcorded poles giving it dexterity and strength, while adding to its overall durability. There is also the Weathertec system, which includes waterproof floor, leak proof seams as well as a water resistant fabric. Leak proof seams ensure that water does not leak, especially during wet weather conditions. It also keeps you dry and safe. The tent is made from durable, water resistant and heavy duty fabric. This material prevents water from coming through the floor. Therefore, you are always protected against tough weather conditions, as long as you stick your head inside! The Coleman Hooligan Tent features a Varifow ventilation system, which increases air circulation inside. The mesh inner lining prevents entry of insects, while making your backpacking trip enjoyable and memorable.
6. Wenzel Alpine Tent – 3 Person
Comfort factor is very crucial, when it comes to purchasing backpacking tents. Thanks to its ventilation, weather-resistance and wind protection, this tent provides a certain level of comfort that is hard to come across. As much as it is described as a 3-person tent, it will comfortably accommodate two people only, if you have large hiking bags on top of other gear. However, if you can stow your hiking gear outside, then it can accommodate three people. Setting it up is quick. You only require a few minutes or even seconds, and you are ready to go. If you are looking for one of the best backpacking tents for family and kids, this is the one to go for. You can fit in a single air mattress, and enjoy a peaceful night in the wild. The Wenzel Alpine Tent – 3 Person is a versatile tent that can serve you well, all year round. Whether it is light rain or stormy weather, you will always stay protected as long as you are inside the tent. It comes with a fly sheet, which creates a minor vestibule for leaving your boots. An integrated door mat ensures that the tent remains clean. There is also a drainage strip that diverts water away from the tent. This waterproof hiking tent will keep you completely dry during wet and cold weather.
7. Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent (Citron Green)
The Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent comes with all the comfort features that you would need in a backpacking tent. The design is well thought-out, while the tent is easy to set up. In terms of setup, you will just use the color-coding design together with the two poles. It is also easy to take apart, once you are done with your hiking. The cord adjusters fitted on the guy lines make it easy to dismantle. It is one of the most livable hiking tents that you can find in the market today. It is spacious, ventilation is great and there is also the comfort factor. With a two-door design, you can zip them off almost fully, allowing extra views and letting in more air. Although it is designed with less mesh than majority of other hiking tents, there is an advantage to this. With less mesh, the tent will be significantly warmer and there will be more protection against splash back once it rains. The triangular stash pockets, as well as the handy removable gear make it even more liveable. Its grey and light green colors make it to blend easily with the outdoor conditions. With a peak of 43 inches, you get plenty of head space to move around the tent.
8. ALPS Mountaineering 5024617 Lynx 1-Person Tent
Get easy and quick set-up, with this Alps outdoor tent. It is easy to carry, compact and super lightweight, just ideal for the lone traveller. It features a square floor design, with sufficient space. Also included is a 10 feet vestibule, which keeps your gear dry and safe. The wall has a mesh construction, which allows airflow and breathability while maintaining integrity and strength. Factory seamed floor and fly seams provide great protection against weather elements. For maximum protection and adjustability, the tent comes with weatherproof fly buckles. It is one of the best lightweight hiking tents in the US. The durable taffeta floor has a 2000mm coating, which ensures that water does not leak into the neat from beneath. The goal of this net is to keep you protected as you enjoy your time in the wild, and that is exactly what it delivers. Considering its breathability, ventilation and weather protection, you can use it in different weather conditions, and you will not be exposed to inclement weather.
9. Wenzel Ridgeline 3 Person Tent
The Wenzel Ridgeline 3 Person Tent is one of the best ultralight backpacking tents. It is perfect for both backpacking and car camping. It is highly durable due to the sturdy materials used in its construction. Setup is also easy and fast. In fact, you can do it alone without needing help. The welded polyethylene floor as well as the welded seams keeps you dry and warm. The welded fly features the proprietary Weather Amor polyester. It also has UV properties to protect you even during extreme weather conditions. The fiberglass frame is shockcorded, utilizing multi-diameter posts, to create more loveable space. The rear window and the front door come with a protective awning provided by the fly ridge pole. The integrated tent reflection system adds a touch of style, to this comfortable hiking tent. An E-port is also included, to bring in electrical cords when needed. The windows also have storm flaps, which mean you can always close them when necessary.
10. Weanas Waterproof Double Layer 2 3 4 Person 3 Season Tent
This backpacking tent can accommodate single campers as well as a small group such as a family of four. Tent material is polyester, which is highly durable and strong. The interior design is very stylish. You can open the door from outside or inside, giving you that convenient movement. At the top, there are two closeable ventilation skylights, which can be opened or closed depending on the prevailing weather conditions. Once it is closed, the outer layer can be used for storing your backpack or shoes. Additionally, you can roll the outer door curtain fix it with a buckle and allow air to circulate freely. The fabric is also waterproof, thus protecting you from water or moisture leaks and keeping you dry and warm throughout. This tent is also windproof, as long as it is strongly anchored to the ground using the tent pegs or nails. It is quick and fast to install, which can be done by a single person. Since it is lightweight and with the help of the strong aluminum poles, it can withstand high pressure and strong storms.
11. Slumberjack Trail Tent 2
The Slumberjack Trail tent is perfect of backpackers, hikers or wherever your outdoor adventure takes you. It is a 2-seater tent featuring a full coverage polyester fly. The tent also has a vestibule for gear storage as well as protected entry. The fiberglass poles, featuring ridge pole technology creates increased head room while maximizing on the living space. Set up is easy and fast and the instructions are very clear. Large mesh wall panels ensure there is sufficient ventilation. It comes with a durable polyester floor and a water-resistant coating. Therefore, regardless of how much it rains, you will always be fully protected. Its size is compact, allowing for easy transportation or even storage, if you are going with a car. Internal storage pockets have been added to provide convenience while keeping your essentials handy. Seams are taped and waterproof, thus no moisture leakages should be experienced. A full-coverage rain fly offers a dry night experience to give you one of the best waterproof hiking tents.
12. ALPS Mountaineering Meramac 2 Person Tent – Fiberglass Poles
This two-poled backpacking tent is a reliable buy. Some of its features include the weatherproofed fly and shock corded fiberglass poles. It is designed with a sleek look while providing high durability. The ALPS Mountaineering Meramac 2 Person Tent has several outstanding features, which a backpacker would love. Featuring a freestanding pole design, the tent utilizes two fiberglass poles. There are two doors and each is fitted with a zippered window. As for the weatherproof fly, it is designed with its own ridgepole thus creating the tent’s awning. Since the floor seams and the rain fly are factory sealed, this tent is very reliable when it comes to withstanding rain or any other weather elements that might threaten to disrupt your adventure. It has a 38-feet room interior, spacious enough to accommodate two people together with a dog. Mesh walls compliments the mesh interior nicely. This gives you a good ventilation cycle. As indicated, each weatherproof rainfly has its own ridgepole. Therefore, a small awning is created over each door, providing additional protection against weather elements. Featuring a zip operation, there are large number 8 zippers, which makes it easy to get in or go out. Safeguards are also added to the zippers, giving the tent extra protection. One unique feature about this tent, is the presence of an external guy-out loop. This feature is very effective in stabilizing the tent during rough weather.
13. Kelty Salida 2 Tent
As you plan your backpacking trip, you require a lightweight, compact and secure tent. If you are looking for such a tent, you should consider this backpack-friendly tent designed by Kelty Salida. It is 2-person, side entry, light backpacking tent. It comes with a single vestibule, which serves as gear storage. Sufficient mesh ensures that you get adequate ventilation while the compact pole set provides easier packing. It is very well engineered. You can use it for more than ten years and will still remain in excellent condition. The cube shape design offers you more options in terms of packing. It is lightweight, which means that it only adds negligible weight to your hiking gear. With extra fabric, you are assured of extra privacy. The materials and the design are good quality. If you are looking at backpacking at low investment, you should definitely consider this tent. It is within an affordable price range, and still offers great functions and features, which would be normally found in high-end tents. It has greater interior space and stronger walls. It still remains one of the easiest ultralight hiking tents to set up.
14. ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 2-Person Tent
Once you set up this tent, you will realize that you were carrying a beast in your backpack. The tent is designed with strong frames and material, giving it a solid durability. It is one of the most spacious backpacking tents that you can come across. This makes it very comfortable for two people to live inside, while still leaving enough space for their gear. It is full of high quality features, making it a favorite among many backpackers. Its two-pole, free standing design makes it simple and easy to set up. The Lynx 2 is fitted with 2 small interior pockets together with a large gear loft. There is a lot of storage space, which can be used to store smaller accessories such as headlamps and sun glasses. Its double-door style adds to its comfort. There are windows on the inner tent and flyer, giving you a clear view outside. When it comes to weather resistance, the Lynx does not disappoint. It has a high peak height which makes it easy to accommodate even taller people. The floor seams and the fly are factory sealed to ensure that moisture or water leakages don’t disrupt your trip.
15. Ohuhu 3 Person Tent with Carry Bag
Are you looking for a lightweight, compact and small backpacking tent? Then you should check out this one today. Go backpacking and enjoy nature with this dome tent. It uses 4 ropes and 8 steel pegs to anchor firmly to the ground, while ensuring that it is not blown away by heavy storms. It comes with a rain fly that helps in preventing rain from leaking into to your tent. The bottom is waterproof. However, if you the area you intend to go backpacking encounters significantly higher amounts of rainfall, then you should carry a footprint, that you can spread beneath this tent. It is designed with 2 interior pockets, which can be used to store the quick-access items. The polyester material used for this tent is UV treated thus providing you with sufficient protection even during strong sunshine. The two-way door design improves circulation. Its rainfly can be separately used to provide additional shelter.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best 15 Backpacking Tents – Reviewed
- 1.1 1. Sundome 4 Person Tent (Green and Navy color options)
- 1.2 2. Klymit Static V Lightweight Sleeping Pad
- 1.3 3. Sundome 2 Person Tent (Green and Navy color options)
- 1.4 4. Sundome 3 Person Tent (Green and Navy color options)
- 1.5 5. Coleman Hooligan Tent
- 1.6 6. Wenzel Alpine Tent – 3 Person
- 1.7 7. Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent (Citron Green)
- 1.8 8. ALPS Mountaineering 5024617 Lynx 1-Person Tent
- 1.9 9. Wenzel Ridgeline 3 Person Tent
- 1.10 10. Weanas Waterproof Double Layer 2 3 4 Person 3 Season Tent
- 1.11 11. Slumberjack Trail Tent 2
- 1.12 12. ALPS Mountaineering Meramac 2 Person Tent – Fiberglass Poles
- 1.13 13. Kelty Salida 2 Tent
- 1.14 14. ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 2-Person Tent
- 1.15 15. Ohuhu 3 Person Tent with Carry Bag
This page was authored by Brian Bradshaw, who represents the Boot Bomb. Brian is backed up by an expert team, made up of experienced family and friends, all of which are knowledgeable in the ways of footwear and/or hiking. His ancestors used to own a shoe store for almost a century. He has lived and breathed footwear for as long as he can remember.
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